osap and the announced changes
What is OSAP?
“The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a financial aid program that can help you pay for college or university.
OSAP offers funding through:
grants: money you don’t have to pay back
a student loan: money you need to repay once you’re done school
When you apply for OSAP, we automatically consider you for both grants and loans. If you don’t want to take a loan, you can decline it after your application is approved.
There are also programs to help you repay your student loan once you’re done school.” - Provided by the Government of Ontario
How is OSAP changing?
Students from low-income families were previously eligible to receive free grants covering the cost of their tuition. This allowed many poor students to attend University or College programs without getting into massive amounts of debt. The Ford PC Government announced they are eliminating this grant and replacing it with more loans that students will need to pay back.
The Ford PC Government has changed the definition of an independent student for Ontario aid to a student who has been out of school for six years, up from four years. This means parental income will be factored into the OSAP needs assessment for students up to six years out of high school.
Previously, students had a 6-month interest free grace period on their Ontario loans after they completed their post-secondary education. This meant no interest would accumulate on their outstanding Ontario loans during this 6-month period, giving students the time they needed to establish themselves in a professional environment. This has been changed by the Ford PC Government, and now students will immeditely begin accumulating interest on their Ontario loans once graduated.
The Ford PC Government announced a 10% decrease in tuition fees for domestic students. This was announced a few days prior to any of the OSAP changes, and was welcomed as positive news by students. But, this 10% decrease does not apply to international students, and does not come with additional funding for Universities and Colleges in Ontario. This leaves Ontario post-secondary institutions with a $440 million cut in resources, which may ultimately lead to larger class sizes and a decrease in quality of education for students.